I can hardly call this pork chop sheet pan dinner a “recipe” as it is little more than arranging foods on a pan and setting a timer! But I wanted to share because the truth is that this is the way most meals in my house get made. Yes, I’m in the food blogging business which means that I spend time developing and testing more intricate recipes, and I do enjoy spending the hours puttering in the kitchen that are required for those dishes. But food blogging has never been my SOLE business and many of my days are busy with other tasks and I need to get meals cooked and ready to eat quickly and with minimal effort.
In the early days of my adult life and marriage, before I made the commitment to real food and a healing diet, fast meals often meant shortcuts like canned soups or boxed dinners, or even frozen pizza. These types of meals became especially common when my health completely crashed and I had almost no energy for cooking. When I transitioned first to the Specific Carbohydrate (SCD) diet in 2013 and then to the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP), I was faced with the same difficult conundrum that many of my clients today must deal with –
How do you use real food to get healthier and stronger if you are too sick or weak to cook that food?
Sheet pan meals
Over time I developed a number of strategies to address that issue, and one of my favorite involves the use of a sheet pan and a hot oven. The “recipe” you see below is infinitely customizable. Here are just a few ideas…
- Instead of pork chops, use boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts.
- Instead of broccoli, try cauliflower florets or halved Brussels sprouts.
- Instead of delicata squash, peel and cut a sweet potato into chunks.
- Instead of dried thyme, sprinkle with some oregano or another herb.
- Cooking for one? Halve the recipe (or plan to eat the other serving the next day for lunch).
- Cooking for four? Use two sheet pans and double the recipe!
Tips for success with AIP sheet pan meals
After years of cooking this way, I’ve discovered a few universal tips that you can employ yourself…
- Start pre-heating the oven right away. If it isn’t up to temperature by the time you are ready to put the pan in the oven, don’t worry.
- Lining the sheet pan is not necessary, but it makes clean up much easier. Aluminum foil works, but there might be some long term health implications to cooking with it frequently, so I opt for unbleached parchment paper.
- Arrange the pan so that your meat is in the center with the vegetables around the outside.
- You may want to lightly drizzle your vegetables with some olive oil to promote flavor development while they roast, but it isn’t necessary since the cooking meat will release fat and juices that run off and season the vegetables.
- Frozen vegetables will also work with this technique, though they will generally not have as nice a texture or get browned edges.
Other fast and easy AIP and SCD recipes
You may also like…
- One Pan Salmon & Rainbow Chard
- Lemon Garlic Bok Choy with Shrimp & Mushrooms
- Broccoli & Butternut Squash Soup
If you have not already purchased and downloaded the AIP blogging and coaching community’s ebook, 30 Minute Meals for the Paleo AIP, I suggest you do! You’ll find 120 complete meals in here, all of them designed to come together and get on your table in 30 minutes or less.
Pork Chop & Vegetable Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe
- 2 thick-cut bone-in pork chops (about 1 pound total weight)
- 1 delicata squash
- 1 broccoli crown
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 425° F and line a standard size sheet pan (also known as a baking sheet, cookie sheet, or jelly roll pan) with parchment paper.
- Dry pork chops with a paper towel and place in the center of the sheet pan.
- Cut squash into half moon shapes and remove seeds. Arrange pieces in single layer on one side sheet pan.
- Cut broccoli crown into bite-sized florets. Arrange florets in single layer on other side.
- Sprinkle dried thyme over all and sprinkle with salt as desired.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until pork chops have reached an internal temperature of 145° F.
- Serve immediately.
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Looking for AIP compliant seasonings for this recipe and others? I recommend ShopAIP!
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